AS the weather warms, I've come across more and more horses on the road when driving in the country and it's always worth bearing them in mind when the weather is good.
Slow right down because some may not be used to traffic and noise and if they get frightened they can unseat their rider and cause mayhem. I've seen it happen.
I came across five groups of riders on one recent 20 mile trip in the Skoda Karoq, but thankfully they didn't hold me up too much.
The Karoq is available with a wide range of engines and some models come with four wheel drive (4WD) as standard.
However, those powered by the excellent 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine, as mine was, are front wheel drive and it's all 90 per cent of drivers will need.
I thought that even with 115bhp from the little three cylinder engine, it might not have enough power to haul the weight around but I was completely wrong.
Acceleration through the gears is very good, without ever becoming startling and it can hold its own up a reasonably steep hill in sixth gear.
It was a brilliant companion for a 200 mile cross country trip that week, comfortable and refined, nippy and quiet.
In fact, it really is an excellent all rounder and very accomplished in all things.
As well as the decent performance, it managed 42 miles per gallon while I had it, which is well up with the petrol competition.
And while the ride is good both in town and out on and undulating and pock-marked road, the road holding is sticky and safe and the handling assured, partly thanks to the excellent VW Group power steering, which is among the best you can get.
On rougher back roads at speed, the ruts and bumps do come through, but they are never bad enough to upset driver or occupants.
The seats offer great support through the corners and they're also comfortable over longer journeys.
And the interior is bigger than you might expect, since this is the smaller of the two Skoda SUVs, with plenty of seat and legroom for five to travel in comfort.
The boot is also big, so it will take all a family's baggage without a problem.
The comprehensive dash has everything included, but white lettering on a grey background doesn't show up well in some lights.
In lowest SE trim, it is very well equipped, with cruise, Bluetooth, climate and alloy wheels, as well as a DAB stereo that gives access to Apple Carplay and Android Auto through Skoda's Smartlink system.
It has electric folding heated mirrors, automatic emergency braking, automatic wipers and headlights and parking sensors at the rear.